Back to the bones

I just want to be with her.  Hikes, explores, photos, projects galore (more on this later), I can’t get enough of her.  I stop and stare to catch my breath, and sometimes I just can’t believe this beauty.

Alone on the mountain, just me and my dog, we walk to Brewster Park, up along the Rio Grande, the back route, the horse trail.  No one has set foot on her bare ground since autumn.  I want to be by the river, wild and untouched.  Hear the rush like blood through my veins.  Enriching, reviving.  Soul food.

There, I am fed, drunk, giddy. Intoxicated by a river.

We walk back along the dirt road and there we find the pile of bones.

A cow, probably a bull.  It is big. Was. Slung on the side on the mountain.  Stripped clean by coyotes, crows and snow.

It’s harsh to see.  It’s harsh to think about.

For I think about this:  someone may have found a pile of bones years ago from the bull I left for lost in the mountains of northern California.  And I cringed to think I could have done this.  My ignorance, foolishness, selfishness.

Yet this bull here, perhaps I could have saved had I stayed here for the winter.  We would have found him earlier in the season on one of our inevitable explores up river.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.    I’m glad I wasn’t.  Leaving was the best thing we could have done at the time.  But…

There are few regrets for having our winter away.

One more.  Minor in comparison.  Damaging only a hidden hillside in the trees as the first of the spring run off floods and silts up our little water diversion that feeds our “spring.”  Early season run off is muddy, silty, fast and furious.  It’s not what you want running in your ditch. Yet someone unaware of the ways of the mountain seemed to think it would be just thing to have feed our ditch, and diverted the full head of water our way last fall.

Here at least I can clean up from someone else’s ignorance.

The price we pay for a winter away.  The mountain sighs indifferently as spring winds chill over the Divide and stir up the dried grasses and leafless Aspen.  Only I am troubled.

Stirring up a pile of bones


Otherwise known as, “So who says ignorance is really bliss?”


Where does the water end, the ice begin?  Water turns to ice turns to water turns to snow, and still the air up here is dry as my fingers crack and lips feel parched and eyes are burning red.

Such is spring on the mountain. Such is life.  Hard to define boundaries.   Harder still to define oneself.  And are we really so different from one another?

I’m forty five.  Mid life.  There’s a lot of self definition going on now.  Then again, I suppose there always was.  Just trying to figure out my place in the big picture. And always feeling more than a little out of it.

When it comes to politics and religion, I tend to keep my mouth shut.  My beliefs are just that.  Mine.  I’ll keep them to myself and usually wish you would do the same.  Please do hold your beliefs dear and strong.  But don’t except me to feel the same. Diversity is a beautiful and exciting part of life, and if I’m so insecure I can’t tolerate a conflicting opinion, or need you think the same way I do, well, it’s a shallow world we live in.  And you know; I’m all about diving in deep.

Challenging the assumptions that one might be best holding ones beliefs deep within as personal truths, I also am learning to be true what I’ve always heard:  Life is worth nothing if you don’t stand for something.  What do you stand for?  Tell me if you’d like.  I don’t have to agree.  But I enjoy knowing what matters most to you. For with that, I learn who you are.  Though I consider another quote I read recently:  You are not known by your beliefs but your actions.  I’m not sold on that yet, but thought I’d throw that in since I’m stirring the pot today.

What do I stand for? If you don’t know, I hope my words speak true and you’ll figure it out if you stick around and read a while.  In the meanwhile, make no assumptions.  Because I don’t know about you, but when I do that I tend to be wrong.  So this much I can say is true:  A person is only proven by the actions I have known them to take.  Stories don’t count.  And for that, you can read:  rumors and gossip and third party tales.

Here’s a grand example of one who stands for what she believes in, and isn’t afraid to stir the waters and create a little mud in the process.  Tricia Cook stands for the wolves… and coyotes.  (See her most recent article from the Mountain Gazette HERE)  Both of which I relate to, as I live beside the coyote day by day, and roll my eyes to hear of men “hunting the problem coyote.”  You got a problem?  Because my coyotes don’t.  Not here at least.  In fact, chances are they are a lot less of a problem on this mountain than that ignorant hunter might be.

Oh, excuse me.  I’m often a bit gruff on Fridays.  And tact, well, tact has never been my forte.  I’m working on it.

But really, what I meant to get to in writing this post, I’m a long ways away from.  Something about that pile of bones. And it’s nothing to do with coyote hunting, though I wouldn’t be surprised if coyotes are in on the picture somehow or other.

Well, until Monday!  I’ll share the rest with you then.  Have a wonderful weekend.